What is Elder Law?
Elder law is an area of legal practice that specializes in issues that affect seniors and people with special needs, and their families. The purpose of elder law is to prepare the elderly person or person with special needs for financial freedom and autonomy through proper financial planning and long-term care options.
How is an Elder Law and Special Needs Planning Attorney Different?
An elder law and special needs planning attorney has specialized knowledge in areas of the law that directly relates to aging or elderly clients and people with special needs. Specialization in all professional fields has raised the standard of practice and allows the client to have the confidence to know that the professional handles only cases within the specialization and thus is very well versed in that particular area of law. At Elder Law Associates PA, our attorneys are specialists in elder law and special needs planning. Partner Howard S. Krooks, Esq., CELA, CAP is is certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Partner Ellen S. Morris, Esq. participates in elder law and special needs law-related legislative initiatives, devoting much of her time to analyzing new rules and updated regulations affecting seniors, people with disabilities, and their families who require government services and protection. Both partners have served in an executive capacity on numerous legal and elder law-related boards, including the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), the New York State Bar Association Elder Law Section, the Florida Bar Elder Law Section and the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys.
So, what do elder law attorneys do and how do you know if you need an elder law or special needs planning attorney?
An elder law and special needs planning attorney properly plans for the possibility of a client’s disability or incapacity, or for the placement in home health care, an assisted living facility (ALF) and/or nursing home, and advises clients on how to qualify for public benefits. In so doing, an elder law and special needs planning attorney develops sophisticated plans to allow individuals to preserve assets while still qualifying for Medicaid and VA Aid and Attendance benefits. In addition, as part of the planning process, the elder law and special needs planning attorney prepares documents including:
- a comprehensive durable power of attorney to provide authority for the client’s named designees to act for him or her regarding financial and legal matters;
- a detailed designation of healthcare surrogate, in which the client chooses a loved one to make vital healthcare decisions when the client is unable to act for himself/herself; as well as
- a living will, which specifies the client’s wishes with regard to all life-sustaining devices toward the end of life.
Our elder law and special needs planning attorneys draft and prepare these documents for our clients in both New York and Florida.
In addition, an elder law and special needs planning attorney practices in guardianship proceedings and is able to secure someone (a guardian) to properly handle an incapacitated person’s personal and financial affairs. Our attorneys litigate guardianship issues, including who should be appointed as a guardian, removing a guardian who mishandles the incapacitated person’s affairs, whether personal or financial, and objecting to guardianship entirely.
The elder law and special needs planning attorneys at Elder Law Associates PA also are proficient in litigation for or against a beneficiary or a fiduciary under a will or trust or other asset that has a named beneficiary like an Individual Retirement Account.
Our elder law and special needs planning attorneys advise clients on long-term care insurance, long-term living arrangements and facility placement and can provide referrals to Geriatric Care Managers for daily, hands-on care.
Elder Law Associates PA’s elder law and special needs planning attorneys are up to date with the new and evolving laws geared to our aging and disabled population.
You need an elder law and special needs planning attorney:
- If you or a loved one is over age 55 for general estate planning and advance directive documents, including a will, trust, power of attorney, living will, designation of health care surrogate, HIPAA release and designation of pre-need guardian:
- If you or your loved one is over age 18 to plan for possible incapacity even before you age to determine who will make decisions for you if you can’t due to illness or injury;
- If you or your loved one is disabled, incapacitated or diagnosed with a disability for Medicaid, veterans’ benefits and special needs trust planning;
- If you or your loved one is a beneficiary or a fiduciary and there is a conflict in the handling of a person’s assets or affairs; or
- If you want to know your options for qualifying for public benefits.
For more information about elder law and how our elder law and special needs planning attorneys can assist you and your family, please contact us or call toll free 1-800-ELDERLAW or (561) 750-3850 today.
Elder Law Associates PA provides elder law and special needs law services throughout Florida, and particularly in the following cities/municipalities and surrounding communities in South Florida near our offices:
- Palm Beach County: Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Highland Beach, Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, North Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Royal Palm Beach
- Broward County: Coconut Creek, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Margate, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Sunrise, Tamarac, Weston
- Miami-Dade County: Aventura, North Miami, North Miami Beach, Sunny Isles, Miami Shores
Having gone through an extremely difficult Medicaid application process for my father in Florida years ago and with the recent passing of my mother I desperately needed to find a competent and understanding law firm that could expedite and help me with elder care legal issues for my uncle in Boca.
Living in NYC with nobody to take care of my sick uncle 1,400 miles away, I found the expertise and compassion of Howard Krooks and his wonderful firm to be incredible. I would highly recommend them to anyone and already have.
When my mom had a stroke -- and unfortunately due to her diabetes -- needed to be moved full time to a nursing home, I needed to qualify her for Medicaid, as the cost of proper care is prohibitive. Ellen and her team did an outstanding job, helping to reallocate my mom's assets and quickly qualifying her for Medicaid benefits. It would be almost impossible for the typical person to get through this process in such a short period of time.
I truly thank Elder Law Associates PA for making this happen.
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